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Chesapeake Energy raises full-year core profit, production outlook

FILE PHOTO: Chesapeake Energy Corporation's 50 acre campus is seen in Oklahoma City,

(Reuters) - Chesapeake Energy Corp on Tuesday raised its full-year forecasts for adjusted core income and production after beating Wall Street estimates for the second quarter.

The company also initiated a variable return program to deliver 50% of free cash flow to shareholders on a quarterly basis, payable in the first quarter of 2022.

Once the second-largest U.S. natural gas producer, Chesapeake filed for court protection last June, saddled with more than $9 billion debt from overspending on assets and a sudden decline in oil prices.

After emerging from bankruptcy in February, Chesapeake endured senior management shakeups, with Chief Executive Officer Doug Lawler leaving the company in April. It also said in June that three top executives would leave the company.

The company's net long-term debt stood at $1.26 billion as of June 30.

Chesapeake on Tuesday increased its expected 2021 adjusted EBIDAX (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, and exploration expense) range by 16% to between $1.8 billion and $1.9 billion.

The company also boosted its total annual production forecast to 415,000 to 435,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), from its previous range of 410,000 boepd to 420,00 boepd.

Chesapeake kept its full-year capital expenditure outlook unchanged at $670 million to $740 million.

The Oklahoma City-based oil and gas producer said it achieved an average net production rate of about 433,000 boepd in the second quarter.

It posted an adjusted profit of $1.64 per share for the quarter ended June 30, beating the average analyst estimate of $1.20, according to Refinitiv IBES.

Chesapeake added that it is currently operating seven rigs - three in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, three in the Haynesville Shale in Louisiana and one in the South Texas Eagle Ford Shale.

(Reporting by Arunima Kumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)